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Sunday 24 November 2013

Xbox One Day Two

Although this is the second day I have had the Xbox One in total I have only had about half a day to play with it and that was a good few hours of fun.

When it arrived the first thing I had to do after plugging it in was to wait for the obligatory day one update.  My internet connection is not very fast because of where I live so I had planned to let that run while I was having dinner.  It took a bit longer than that but before I went to bed I purchased my first game and started it downloading.

As I wanted the Xbox One in the living room I opted for a game I knew my wife would like.  Need for Speed, Rivals.  By morning it had installed.

Despite my poor Internet speed I do not want to have to play with the disk in the drive.  Therefore it is necessary to purchase all my games as download.  I am happy with this but I will have to be patient when a game comes out to wait for it to finish downloading.

Back to my first impressions.

The Good

Most important to me is that it has a good controller and it does.  Fits my hand well and every action is very positive.  If I had to criticise then I'd say the battery cover is a bit thin!

I like the design of the main box. It sits discretely in the living room without standing out.  I disliked the 360 design because it was just too deliberately shaped and odd.   The advantage of the slightly larger box of the Xbox One is that they have kept the noise down.  It is quiet which is important to me because my plan was to have it in the living room as a media centre.  Sadly that point appears in my Bad section, so read on.

The setup is also very easy.  Hardly any, just the Kinect really.  The Kinect just has a couple of next, next, next, screens and job is done.  I found it very clever how the Kinect knows where I am based on the controller I am holding.  My living room is too small to play many connect games.  I have so little floor area that it detected my sofa as the floor!  That had a very easy adjustment.

I only have the one full game and the free downloads.  The graphics are a small step up and they run smoothly but on what I have seen so far the extra power of the new box has not been pushed very hard.

Now for...

The Bad

All the advertising indicated that the Xbox One could be the centre of my living room.  Recent news articles were very pleased to announce that the Xbox One would be DLNA compliant and that the PS4 was not.  There's Netflix, Love film, Sky and a few others I had never heard of BUT it won't play videos from my NAS box!

It is useless to me in the living room because IT WILL NOT PLAY MY EXISTING VIDEOS!

For me that is a big oversight.  I will now move the box to my study to just play games on and carry on using my Xbox 360 as my media centre in the living room.

I hope Microsoft will add the feature in the future but for the time being it is only any good for playing games.

Having said that, at the moment that is the only really bad point I have found.  If that is not important to you then you should be very excited.

The Ugly

This is the disappointing stuff or where it does not work so well.

Being able to swap back to the main menu without leaving the game is a good feature BUT they forgot to make sure the game writers took it in to account.  Need for Speed Rivals gets confused if you swap players mid game.

When you return to need for speed from the other player, it says it is restarting BUT it restarts as the first player again and takes you back to the very beginning tutorials!  Not permanent, just restart the Xbox One and continue from where you previously were.  On that point not having an exit from a game is not ideal.  The Xbox One needs an exit otherwise the game carries on running until you start something else.

The lack of useful media centre features that I want mean I have no use for split screen.  It appears to work but I have no reason to try it out.

Another minor point against using the Xbox One in the living room is that the Kinect cable is not long enough.  Don't get me wrong, it is a long cable but still not long enough for my small living room.  At the moment it is too soon to be able to buy an extension lead.

It did make me laugh that the box I used to perch the Kinect on to position it was the box from my Ouya console!

The tiled interface is not bad but it is confusing as the tiles move about a bit.  I'll get used to it.  There are some bits missing.  There is no way I can find to tell how much battery life is left in the controllers and no way to see how much disk space has been used.

I would have liked to use a keyboard for entering text, like I do on the Xbox 360, but this is not supported at the moment:
The reply in that forum suggests using SmartGlass to get a more convenient keyboard.

For A Few Dollars More

Having said the above it is to be expected for a day one purchase.  It will take time and I need to buy a few more games when the games designed to take account of more of the features of the Xbox One start coming out.

The main thing for a game console is was it fun to play.  I spent all of yesterday afternoon crashing police cars in to racers in Need for Speed, Rivals and enjoyed every minute.  So, yes, it is good.

No point in rushing to buy one yet but when a few more good games come out I think you are going to want one.